Location is just as important as your subject. There are thousands of different places to shoot an engagement session these days, so when a couple asks me "Where do you recommend?" I always try to suggest a place that has a special meaning to you as a couple. Where did you meet? Where was your first date? What's your favorite coffeeshop? Are you more likely to spend your free time walking around the city or in a park? I believe that an engagement session should be more than just a backdrop, it should be a reflection of who you are as a couple. For Nicole and Joe's engagement session, they decided to shoot in Pittsburgh, specifically, at PPG Place, the location where Joe proposed to Nicole. I asked my assistant, Tracy, to help me photograph their session. We had a great time!
As a photojournalist, you cannot direct (influence) your subject, so in order to communicate and make a connection with the readers, you must take advantage of all the readily available information provided in the background of your subject to help you tell the story. This is typically done by using lines to "lead you in" to the subject (see the above image as an example!) or by taking away the location (shallow depth of field or-my personal favorite-showing negative space) but another way to utilize location is to use it as a mirror to what is being communicated by your subject. This can be done in an literal manner (such as the reflections in the glass at PPG Place) or in a more subtle, symbolic sense. I had emailed Nicole saying that the fountain pictures were my favorite images in this session, and the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. Not only were they great action shots, but they became unaware of me, Tracy, and our cameras. The story was no longer about two people who were about to get married, the story was about Nicole and Joe and the excitement and joy that they feel for each other. Fountains just feel celebratory, at least in my opinion. Maybe I'm over-analyzing. Maybe I just really liked having an excuse to take pictures of people jumping around in the fountains.
Sometimes I have clients ask about the benefits of having two photographers shoot their wedding. So, I included a scene that Tracy and I were documenting at the same time. This was my angle.... And this was Tracy's view. I might actually like her frame better! Nice job, Tracy!
Nicole and Joe, I'm looking forward to shooting your wedding! I know it will be an amazing day because Nicole has started her own wedding and event planning business. Check her out here!